Tag Archives: Byron Leftwich

AFC Divisional 2009: Steelers storm out the Chargers

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Diego Chargers put all they’ve got on the table for the chance to go to the AFC Championship.  Broadcast on CBS and set in swirly snowflakes of Heinz Field, the first quarter bolted out–no pun intended–with a Chargers touchdown by wide receiver Vincent Jackson.  San Diego 7 and Pittsburgh 0.  Minutes later, Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes returned a punt for sixty-eight yards, flew into the end zone, and toppled a photographer on the sidelines.   It was such a beauty.  The snow, his running–like a bumble bee or yellow jacket into the night.  Another Fortune Cookie moment.  Both teams tied 7.

One of the cameras cut to an extreme close-up of Chargers punter Brett Scifres (pronounced “sigh-fruh-ss”) after that TD.  He wore the look of shock and irritation.

The second quarter continued beyond seven minutes and then Vincent Jackson made a job-dropping leap of a forty-three yard catch.  Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin challenged the complete pass call.  He won the challenge.  Jackson caught the ball in mid-air, but upon hitting the turf, the ball bounced out of his hands.  The Chargers had to punt the ball away.  Nate Kaeding attempted a forty-two yard field goal with two minutes on the clock.  He did it.  San Diego 10 and Pittsburgh 7.  Steelers running back Willie Parker was able to zip across the front, left corner of the end zone with fewer than seventy seconds left in the quarter.  Thus, going into halftime Pittsburgh 14 and San Diego 10.

The third quarter started with Steelers on offense.  That drive, consisting of thirteen plays, ticked all the way to seven minutes for a touchdown by tight end Heath Miller.  Pittsburgh 21 and San Diego 10.  The Chargers shoved back with a sixty-three yard kick-return by running back Darren Sproles.  One play later, Steelers linebacker Larry Foote recovered a loose Chargers ball (technically, his teammate James Harrison got to the ball first but Foote came up with it).  Chargers head coach Norv Turner challenged the interception ruling.  He lost the challenge.  Towards the bottom of the quarter, Steelers punter Mitch Berger kicked the ball down the field, which bounced off Chargers strong safety Eric Weddle’s helmet.   The Steelers got the ball back.

The fourth quarter lashed out without a TD or a field goal by the Steelers…as the previous plays had suggested would surely happen.  But they got that missed score soon enough.  Running back Gary Russell broke the plane sufficiently for a TD.  Pittsburgh 28 and San Diego 10.  Steelers defensive end Brett Kiesel sacked Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers a couple plays later.  After he got up, Kiesel took three to four steps while doing a downward figure-eight, row-row-row-your-boat movement with his arms.   The Chargers got a TD on the board courtesy of wide receiver Legedu Naanee (the first of his career) with about nine minutes on the clock.  Willie Parker got his galloping legs into the end zone some five minutes later.  Pittsburgh 35 and San Diego 17.  Byron Leftwich stepped in as Steelers quarterback for Ben Roethlisberger in the bottom of the quarter.  With under two minutes to play, Darren Sproles ran sixty-two yards into the end zone for a TD.  Pittsburgh 35 and San Diego 24.  Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Jim Nantz and Phil Simms were the commentators.  They both wore dark suits, light blue button-down shirts, and v-neck sweaters.  Nantz wore a silverish/blue tie and a bluish-gray sweater, Simms a silver and bluish-gray, fat, diagonally striped tie and a dark blue/or black sweater.

2.  What’s this?  While Nate Kaeding was putting up the extra point in the top of the first quarter, the commentators mentioned something about Vincent Jackson’s DUI from the past week.

3.  The Steelers wore yellow pants–black stripe down the outer leg–and black jerseys with yellow sleeves.  The Chargers wore blue pants with–white/bolt stripe down the outer leg–and white jerseys.  The uniforms made me think of yellow jackets and blueberry muffins.

4.  Read more about The Fortune Cookie here.

5.  Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has a great speaking voice.  Watch him on Craig Ferguson’s show from last year.   Gates’s voice reminds me of Tone Loc ‘s. You know. “Funky Cold Medina.”

6.  Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips got elbowed in the adam’s apple/throat area in the bottom of the second quarter.  He walked off the field a couple minutes later.  To his left? An Asian man.  A Dr. Calvin Wong, methinks.  The Chargers’ opthamologist is Dr. Mihir (Max) Parikh.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

NFL 08: Steelers microphone-check those Bengals

I started watching the Steelers at Bengals game (on CBS) in the third quarter. At halftime, the score was 10 to 7 in Pittsburgh’s favor. At the start of the third quarter, the Steelers increased their lead with a touchdown by running back Mewelde Moore. 17 to 7. The Bengals answered that one with a field goal towards the bottom of the quarter. 17 to 10. The fourth quarter said hello to a fifty-yard TD catch by Steelers wide receiver Nate Washington. Pittsburgh 24 and Cincinnati 10. Ticking to five minutes, Mewelde Moore made his third TD of the game. 31 to 10 Steelers. Byron Leftwich went in for Pittsburgh quarterbacking duties towards the bottom of the fourth quarter. Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward made it into the end zone in the bottom as well. 38 to 10.

Today’s victory marked the eighth time in a row that Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati at Cincinnati.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. After the commercial break proceeding Bengals kicker Dave Rayner put the ball through the uprights in the bottom of the third quarter, the camera went to a low angle medium shot of Cincinnati cheerleader Lindsey (specifically of her left shoulder up). She winked at the camera.

I know why the cameras tend towards the low-angle shot, but a high-angle never hurt anyone…except for those that are already vertically underwhelming.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

Pre-S 08: Steelers kick away the Vikings

The Pittsburgh Steelers went to the central time zone to play and then eventually beat the Minnesota Vikings.

As a Steelers fan, I was hoping that Pittsburgh would prevail. From the middle of the third quarter on, though, I was under the impression that I would be titling this post “Vikings longship the Steelers.” Minnesota was quarterbacked by Gus Frerotte and John Booty. Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich led Pittsburgh. The Vikings scored first with a touchdown in the second quarter with a catch by running back Adrian Peterson. The Steelers wouldn’t have anything to show offensively until cornerback Ike Taylor intercepted a Frerotte pass meant for Vikings wide receiver Bobby Wade a few minutes later. Taylor’s steal, however, ended in a field goal rather than a TD. Both teams would increase their score with field goals in the third quarter. Minnesota would remain at ten points for the rest of the game. Pittsburgh would pick up two more field goals in the fourth quarter. The second one occurred with nine seconds left on the clock and gave them the win, thanks to Jeff Reed’s leg.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. CBS televised the game; the 1st and Ten line looked orange instead of yellow.

2. Vikings quarterback Gus Frerotte is eight months older than Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

3. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf provided commentary. At one point Dierdorf mentioned to Gumbel that Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau looks amazing for his age: nearly seventy-one. Indeed, he looks great. LeBeau is six years older than Mick Jagger.

Click here for game summary, stats, and play-by-play.

NFL News: Falcons No More

This turn of events will most likely be a blow to Alge Crumpler fans.

Falcons release Crumpler, Leftwich, five others

Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons released four-time Pro Bowl tight end Alge Crumpler and six other players Friday in the first step of a major rebuilding job in the post-Michael Vick era.

The Falcons also cut quarterback Byron Leftwich, defensive tackle Rod Coleman, offensive tackle Wayne Gandy, cornerback Lewis Sanders, wide receiver Jamin Elliott and linebacker Marcus Wilkins.

“This is a difficult day for the entire organization,” said Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons’ new general manager. “A number of these players have contributed to this organization on and off the field at a high level, and we greatly appreciate their efforts.”

None contributed more than Crumpler, one of the team’s most respected players and a leader in the locker room. He twice led the Falcons in receptions and had a streak of four straight Pro Bowl appearances from 2003-06.

But Crumpler was plagued by knee problems this past season and dropped off to 44 receptions. Also, he counted $5.1 million against the salary cap for 2008, money the Falcons felt could be better spent elsewhere.

“These decisions weren’t easy, but we felt they were necessary to build a team in the long-term best interest of the Falcons and its fans,” Dimitroff said.

The Falcons also cut Coleman, who played sparingly in 2007 after injuring himself on a personal watercraft during the last offseason. Before that, he had been one of the NFL’s most dominating interior linemen, making the Pro Bowl in 2005.

“As a football coach it is never easy to cut any player, especially veteran players who have been valuable members of the organization,” said new coach Mike Smith, who was hired last month.



 Read the rest of the article here.

pic cred: falcons.com

‘Tis the Season: Buccaneers thrash the Falcons

All was not well in the house of Falcon.

After defeating the San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers, with Joey Harrington as quarterback, the Atlanta Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino assigned quarterbacking duties to Byron Leftwich in their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome (televised by Fox). I’m not going to address this choice, but I’ll ponder about its implications further down.

Tampa Bay put fourteen points on the board by the end of the first half of the game (wide receiver Joey Galloway made a touchdown in the first quarter; cornerback Ronde Barber made a fumble recovery TD in the second quarter after Leftwich was sacked). 14 to 0.

In the second half of the game, the Buccaneers got three points from a field goal (third quarter). Shortly thereafter, tight end Alex Smith put another TD on the board, expanding the score gap even farther. Tampa Bay 24. Atlanta 0. Harrington went back in as quarterback near the bottom of the third quarter. The top of the fourth quarter greeted Atlanta with six more points and a one-point conversion by Tampa (thanks to running back Ernest Graham). Tampa Bay 31. Atlanta 0.

Falcons wide receiver Adam Jennings made a touchdown with about a minute left on the clock, but that just kept their loss from being a completely unmitigated plunder. Instead of Atlanta Rien, Zip, they get 7 to Tampa Bay’s 31.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. The greatest commercial featuring horses ever (possible exception is one of those Stetson cfs from the late 90s). The ad starts with a set of brown horse’s legs coming into frame from the left. One of the legs approaches a line in a field of snow and then it rewinds two times. The camera cuts to a long shot of two groups of brown horses on a snowy field, and there’s a zebra looking into an instan replay machine. The camera cuts of a medium close-up of the brown horses and then to two human males leaning against a fence. The younger man says, “That referee is a jackass.” The other, older man (with whiskers and donning a cowboy hat), replies, “Nope, I believe that’s a zebra.” And then cut to black and the Budweiser logo.

Apparently, it’s one of the commercials from Super Bowl 2003.

2. Whether or not today’s game’s outcome has more to do with who was quarterbacking and when for Atlanta (rather than receivers holding onto the ball better or linebackers blocking better) is ultimately unimportant. The implications of who feels more responsible or who has to bear that burden, however, are more relevant. Because football games are not won by individuals alone–they’re won by individual effort combining and working in harmony. When a team, like the Falcons, has not been able to cultivate the kind of chemistry and instinctual, tacit understanding between pertinent players necessary to be victorious consistently, what does one think is going to happen? Cynically speaking, games that are won may have more to do with luck and a weaker opponent than anything else.

C’est la vie.

Read more, get stats, and play-by-play here.

Edit:  According to an ad that played during the Patriots vs. Bills game, the Colts vs. Falcons Thanksgiving game will be on MyATLtv for all you Atlantans.  I’ll check the web site on Wednesday or Thursday to be sure.

The game between the Falcons and the Colts Thanksgiving night will be on NFL Network (not any local station as far as the Falcons web site suggests).